Local man charged in Sutton murder

Fort Frances OPP charged Doug Maki with first-degree murder Tuesday in connection with the death of 18-year-old Melani Sutton.
Maki, 28, of Fort Frances made a brief appearance in court here Tuesday afternoon, and was remanded to the Fort Frances District Jail. His next court appearance is slated April 10.
The arrest came one week after Sutton’s body was recovered from a bush area about 80 km east of here last Tuesday. Her remains were positively identified during a post-mortem examination in Kenora last Thursday.
She had been last seen here March 11. Her parents, John Sutton and Fawn Dustin, reported her missing March 13.
The homicide investigation is continuing under the direction of Det. Insp. Dennis Olinyk of the OPP’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (Major Case Section).
Police would not say where Maki was arrested except that it was here in Fort Frances. And they would not say if more charges are pending, or if anyone else will be charged.
Police also would not say if Sutton was acquainted with Maki, or what led them to charge him yesterday. They offered no motive for the crime.
It also has not been revealed how police knew where to find Sutton’s body.
Police also know what caused Sutton’s death but will not release that information at this time.
Meanwhile, Sutton’s 16-year-old friend, Rachel Willcott, expressed her feelings on the murder just before the wake Tuesday night.
“It surprised me more that she was missing than that she was dead because she was gone so long,” she remarked.
Another acquaintance, Ashley Calder, 15, noted she found the murder unsettling for a small town. “I’m kind of paranoid but not really. It’s something in the back in the mind,” she said.
But Calder felt people who knew Sutton should think of her fondly at her funeral this morning.
“She was a friend–everybody is going to miss her,” she remarked.
Fort Frances High School has had a crisis response team in place to offer counselling for any grieving students since last Wednesday.
While individual counselling is still available, the “talk room” has been discontinued.
The Canadian flag at the high school flew at half mast Friday through Monday in remembrance of Sutton, and students and staff took a minute of silence during the morning announcements Monday morning.
Principal Terry Ellwood and vice-principal Mary Hickling, who both previously commented on the atmosphere at the school following Sutton’s disappearance, declined comment Tuesday.